Interview with David Rose, President of Brio - Part II


David Rose

Click here for Part IPart III

Using software technology to achieve return on innovation

David Rose is the president and one of the founding partners of Brio, a boutique software firm that helps companies attain a return on innovation. The firm leverages technology to ensure clients operate better, achieve greater profit, change faster, and reach their customers in more meaningful ways. Brio’s projects have ranged from UX design to IT assessments to content management, app development, e-commerce, strategic technology consulting, and much more.

EDWIN WARFIELD: How did Brio evolve from a website development company into the firm it is today?

DAVID ROSE: When we started the company we thought we would be focused on one-off website development. As we saw the need in the marketplace was more focused on data, we shifted more over to the data side, mostly because that’s the work that we got. That shift to custom software development focusing on data helped develop those other lines of businesses.

As we were doing that work, we would talk to a small company, they would want to develop a software package, and we would end up talking to them about “well, what’s your strategy to looking out two or three years?” Because we would have to know that stuff in order to develop the software. “How do your other systems in your business interact with this new software package that you want to build? What are your processes like internally?”

What we realized is that we’re providing this IT and CIO consulting as part of that development project, but it really wasn’t part of the development project—it was a distinct service. That helped us develop that CIO service.

We’re into understanding the business and the strategy behind technology before we go in and build a website or implement software or put Salesforce in place. We’re firm believers that the software really has to help the business grow rather than the business change to fit whatever the software model is, and that’s where the software industry has moved.

If you look at a package like Salesforce, the power of Salesforce is that you can make it do whatever your business wants it to do, as opposed to some of the older packages where it was like, “here’s an ERP system—this is how this ERP system works and your business has to change to match this ERP system.” Or, in this case of Salesforce: “this is a CRM—this is how this package does CRM, so if you don’t do it that way you have to change your business to match.” Whereas the philosophy behind Salesforce is really the software should match the business, not the business match the software. That’s key for us. That helped us develop that strategy line of business.

The UI/UX component—as we are developing custom software, if people aren’t using it, then the project failed. We started thinking: How can we get more people to use the software? We’re not equipped to do training sessions all the time, so we just have to make the software easy to use right from the jump. That’s where we began to focus more on user interface and user experience.

It’s a weird collection of services that reflect both a need in the marketplace as well as what we feel companies really need to be looking at that we’re servicing. That’s really small and middle market companies that historically didn’t even get the chance to participate in things like process automation or advanced analytics. These companies were sort of out of that space—it was only available to large companies. So, as we’re able to offer that stuff to small and middle market companies, that’s the mix of services we feel they need.

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